BANK OF BIRMINGHAM TRIES SUBTLE
GLASS TO MAKE IT FEEL MORE OPEN
FREE PRESS BUSINESS WRITER
If many suburban banks attempt to
look like a fake Mt. Vernon, the soon-to-open Bank of Birmingham is trying
something more subtle.
Scheduled to open this summer at 33583 Woodward in Birmingham, the bank
has a design that purposely avoids awnings, window signage and other trappings
of suburban bank styles. Instead, extensive use of glass, windows and skylights
is meant to signal an open, understated design. The exterior will be covered
in Jerusalem stone from Israel. The interior, done in the same stone with
slate floors and cherry-wood finishes, is designed as an open banking pavilion
with a large lounge area where customers are welcome to linger.
Designed by Luckenbach Ziegelman Architects of Bloomfield Hills, the bank
hopes to stand out as a quiet alternative in a bustling suburban landscape.
"Our goal is to be the quiet one on a loud street," architect Robert
Ziegelman said. "We are hoping that the Bank of Birmingham will be seen
as a welcoming space in a very high-energy area."
Bank of Birmingham's 8,700-square-foot main office will be in a renovated
70-year-old structure, formerly occupied by a cellular phone center
and furniture store.
Bank President and CEO Robert Farr said the $1.4-million renovation
should create an environment in which customers feel comfortable.
"We are all about listening to customer needs and delivering
customized services instead off-the-shelf banking products," he